Single Christians have a hard time accepting their sins are forgiven by God.
Why is that? Why do we struggle so much with this key principle of our faith?
Maybe it's because we compare God to people. We remember someone who won't forgive us--or think about someone that <b>we</b> just can't forgive, and we believe that God works the same way.
But that's wrong:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)
I think we single Christians struggle with guilt more than married folks do. We may even have the mistaken notion that our singleness is a punishment from God because of some sin of ours. That's untrue as well.
God's graciousness is tough to accept. We've never encountered anything like it in this fallen world. We've never experienced the kind of forgiveness and compassion that only he is capable of. Burned in the past, we feel it sounds too good to be true.
Even a few moments of reflection remind us that Jesus' entire mission on Earth was to atone for our sins and reconcile us with God the Father. Christ died for our sins past, present and future.
Our part is to consciously accept Christ as our Savior, repent of our sins, and receive that forgiveness. Once we do that, we can be assured that our sins truly are forgiven by God.
I don't know about you, but I hate it when I sin because it's a painful reminder that I'm not perfect. I'd like to be perfect, but the truth is that I'm a sinner and will be until the day I die. That's the case for all of us.
We don't want to hurt Jesus with our sins, but his scourging and crucifixion are over. They don't reoccur every time we sin.
That doesn't give us license to sin, of course, but our salvation and forgiveness have been won, and we need to settle that in our mind.
God's forgiveness obligates us to forgive others who have hurt us. Jesus made it pretty clear in Mark 11:25:
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
But it's hard, isn't it? Bitterness and resentment are easy to hang onto. We want justice. We want the other person to pay.
Forgiveness, it's been said, is an act of the will, and not the emotions. While we may not want to forgive or feel like forgiving, God demands it of us.
Forgiving doesn't mean we'll be able to forget. Some hurts will only be healed in heaven. But using our willpower, we can forgive and hand the hurt over to God, for him to deal with.
We should praise God every day for forgiving our sins. We can live by the Golden Rule and forgive others in the same way that we'd like to be forgiven.
We can also obey God. Obedience is challenging, but we can give it our very best effort.
Yes, sometimes we'll fall and sin again, but by confessing and repenting, we receive immediate forgiveness of that sin. We have a clean slate, a clear conscience, and the ability to move on.
You can't live the victorious Christian life without accepting the truth that your sins are forgiven by God. You can't pay for your own sins because that debt has already been paid by Jesus.
So live in this truth of God's indescribable gift to you. You can move ahead, knowing you're free to live the life he wants for you.